With the passing of Bill Fitch, NBA coaching legend and pioneer in video study to improve game-planning for opponents; we look back on his incredible career. He was dubbed “Captain Video,” by Bill Simmons during an interview tribute with BS Report (courtesy) which includes many memorable moments such as:
Winning record surpassing 200 wins while playing under six different teams–second all time behind Lenny Wilkens who had 796 victories .
The 1978-1979 season was the worst ever for the Celtics franchise. Just a decade since the end of the Red/Bill Russell dynasty, the greatest in professional sports, Boston basketball had never been so deflated.
One year later, the Celtics, under Fitch guidance, finished with the largest single-season turnaround in NBA history. Fitch had a great ability to motivate veteran players and the Celtics had turned around all of those negative trends overnight. They became title contenders and the Celtics dynasty was renewed.
Two consecutive seasons of dysfunctional benches, player-coaches, ownership turmoil and the dismissal of Tommy Heinsohn, it was time for a change. Bill became the first non-Celtic coach hired in the Red Auerbach era. In 2 short seasons, Fitch and company led the Celtics to a 61-21 and an NBA Championship following up six games against Houston.
These successes, plus his blue collar mentality and sarcastic wit, is what made Fitch so popular in Boston during his tenure. Fitch and the Celtics would part ways after the 1982-83 season.
Coach came with deep knowledge of basketball. He also happened to be tough enough for what needed done in Boston to void the turmoil surrounding the once storied franchise. His quick humor helped to compensate for a notoriously disciplined basketball system. Mr. Fitch was a perfect fit for the Celtics and their fans in 1979, when he arrived on Causeway
Bill Fitch remains a respected figure amongst his former players. In a tweet to his following, tagging this video, 1981 NBA Finals MVP and Celtics legend said, “How could one be mean and sensitive at the same time? That was Bill Fitch .. ”
How could one be mean and sensitive at the same time? That was Bill Fitch ..
he challenged us to be better players and we challenged him to be a better coach.
Rest in peace coach 🙏🏾 https://t.co/z0hZ6ZZP3m
— Cedric Maxwell (@cedricmaxwell81) February 5, 2022